Have you ever thought about what your life will look like 30 years from now? Would you be happy about the choices you've made, the friends you kept, and how you spent your free time? What things would you change, if you could?
According to Australian author and nurse Bronnie Ware, some of the biggest regrets people have at the end of their lives are about loved ones and how they spent their time. They wished they'd "allowed themselves to be happy" and kept in touch with friends more often. Also, patients regretted abandoning their own dreams to please others.
Don't wait until you reach age 80 to think about the life you want to build for yourself - begin now! Here are 25 things you may regret if you're not careful:
1. Being afraid to say "I love you."
Say it when you finish a phone call with your mom. Say it to your siblings, grandparents, and close friends. Say it to a person you love. You never know when you won't have the chance anymore.
2. Not asking your grandparents for advice.
As "old fashioned" as grandma and grandpa may seem, they've gone through many and more life changes than you. They will share their wisdom, you just have to ask the right questions.
3. Picking on yourself for small mistakes.
Last time I checked, no one was perfect. Using your faults and missteps as a positive learning experience is much better than telling yourself that you're a failure.
4. Spending too much time in the sun without sunscreen.
Smoking and sunburn are some of the fastest ways to age your skin before its time. You may not see it now, but stay on the safe side and protect your skin with SPF.
5. Not leaving a bad relationship soon enough.
Letting go can be hard, but staying in a relationship that's clearly not good for your mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual health is a waste of your life. Love will find you again.
6. Worrying about money so much.
Even Jim Carrey had money troubles before reaching stardom, so you're not alone. You won't regret budgeting your money, but you may regret missing an opportunity because of money worries.
7. Choosing friends based on convenience instead of value.
Your friends should support your dreams and enjoy spending time with you. If you're only friends with them because they live close by, you might want to make true friendships elsewhere.
8. Not taking enough vacations.
There's always so much to do, and trust me, it never gets done no matter how hard you work. Realize when you're starting to burn out and get away for a week or two.
9. Holding grudges.
As we get older, we realize how petty some of our arguments have been. Make it a habit to forgive people now, and you'll have no regrets as life moves on.
10. Not visiting the dentist regularly.
Poor dental hygiene can worsen diabetes symptoms, increase the risk of heart disease, and put a fetus at risk during pregnancy. Get your teeth cleaned every two years at least.
11. Not spending enough time with family.
Family is one of the most important things in your life. Focusing too much time on a career can cause you to miss important moments in your spouse's or kids' lives.
12. Allowing fear to prevent you from getting your dream job.
"I'm not smart enough" or "I'm not qualified" are normal doubts to have, but confidence wins the day. Visualize what you want and don't allow the haters (sometimes yourself) to stop you.
13. Not realizing how beautiful you were.
Poor body image and self-esteem affects us all, but you're not going to look back on life and wish you'd obsessed about it more. Try to appreciate it as it is - not compared to other people.
Don't leave yet! Go to the next page to see why you should stop chasing people.
14. Not traveling while you were young.
I've been told time and time again by older adults: the time to travel is when you are young. Decide where you want to go and make it happen. You'll have stories to last a lifetime.
15. Ignoring your parents' advice.
Mom and dad know best, and this becomes clear the older you get. Listen to what they have to say - they usually have your best interests in mind.
16. Not showing gratitude to people who helped you.
There's no way you've got this far in life without the help of others. Give back to them by showing appreciation - this can be as simple as "Thank you for what you did for me all those years ago. I will never forget it."
17. Caring too much about what other people thought.
Who cares anyways? Everyone has opinions about how you should act and live your life. Nobody knows the full story except you, so stop worrying.
18. Not enjoying the best parts of your life while they were happening.
The day you graduated college, your wedding day, the birth of your first child - all of these moments are beautiful but also stressful. Focus on the joy instead of the stress. You won't be sorry you did.
19. Letting people talk you into things you didn't want to do.
Living the life someone else wants for you will never make you happy. Filter out expectations from family and friends and find out what career you want, where you want to live, what your interests are, etc.
20. Neglecting to exercise.
Staying fit is essential if you want to be healthy physically and mentally. Not exercising when you're young can wreak havoc on your health as you age. Start now.
21. Not standing up for yourself.
Some people you will meet will treat you like garbage, and allowing them to continue is not being true to yourself. Say how you feel and tell them you won't put up with it.
22. Being afraid of change.
Life would be boring without change. So far, you've adapted pretty well to changes, so embrace the one coming in your life. You'll look back and be grateful you did.
23. Not doing more for others.
No matter how rich or poor, every person you encounter needs to be loved. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, smile at a customer who's looking sad, or pay for someone's groceries. Bringing happiness to others will enrich your own happiness.
24. Bottling up your thoughts and feelings.
You don't want to be a burden. I get it. But sometimes, you need to tell people if you're feeling sad, angry, or uncomfortable. Being understood and validated will help more than you know.
25. Not taking a break when stress was getting to you.
Taking a mental health day is nothing to be ashamed of. Going for a 5 minute walk when you're in a slump at work is okay. You don't have to be the energizer bunny every day.
26. Not playing with your kids often enough.
"Come play with me!" is all your kid really wants some days. The "important" work of cleaning or making dinner can wait for 5 minutes while you build a sandcastle with your 5-year-old.
27. Trying to be friends with people who didn't make time for you.
Chasing people who don't care about us is an age-old problem. People make time for the things that matter in their lives, and if you're not one of them, it's time to abandon ship and find another.
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